HOW TO BUILD YOUNG PEOPLE’S SELF-ESTEEM

Self-esteem is a very important ingredient for a successful and happy life. A person can be blessed with intelligence and talent but if he or she lacks self-esteem, this can be an obstacle in achieving success in a job, a relationship and in virtually every area of life. Often young people who do not have self esteem can be victims of bullies.

Show love and affection All our dealings with our children, starting from infancy, should be done with a lot of affection and love. A baby who was dealt with love and affection will get a subconscious feeling that he/she is worthy and important enough to be loved.

Compliment Give your child compliments as often as possible, whenever they do something right. Say, “I am very proud of you. You are very special. I like the way you have done it”.

Make your compliments credible It is important, however, that the compliments be credible. Exaggerated compliments like, “You are the best in the world. You are the nicest person that ever lived” can actually be counter-productive. The child will develop an inflated ego, and that can affect his relationship with friends, which in the long run will have a negative effect on his/her self-esteem.

Set goals The goal should be something attainable-to get dressed by herself, to get a certain mark on his next test. Set goals that are suited for the child’s age and capabilities (setting a goal which is unattainable will have a negative effect). As the child works toward the goal, coach her along and compliment her success each step along the way. Once the child reaches the goal, compliment her achievement and reinforce her self-image as an achiever.

Criticise the action, not the person When the child does something negative, say to the child, “You are such a good and special child, you should not be engaging in such an activity”, instead of saying, “you are a bad child”.

Validate their feelings When your child suffers a blow to his/her self-esteem, it’s important to validate his/her feelings. For example, if the child gets offended by a hurtful comment made by a friend or a teacher, say to the child, “Yes, you were offended by what that person said” or “you were offended by the fact that the other person doesn’t like you”. Only after the child feels that his feelings have been validated will he be open to you, bolstering his self-esteem by pointing out the people who do like him and the positive things that others have said about him.

Be proud on a regular basis, we must remember to tell the child how fortunate and how proud we are to be his/her parents.

Talk positively in the presence of important people in his life, such as grandparents, teachers, friends etc.

Never to compare them to others, saying, “why aren’t you like Johnny?” When such comparisons are made by others, reassure your child that he/she is special and unique in his/her own way.

Make sure that others dealing with them know their strengths At the beginning of the school year, speak with your child’s teachers and tell them what your child’s special strengths are and about the areas in which he/she excels, so that the teacher will have a positive outlook towards them and will continue to build on those strengths.

Tell them on a regular basis that you will love them unconditionally When they fail or do the wrong thing, remember to say to them, “You are special to me, I will always love you, no matter what!”

Tend to your own self-esteem You need to see yourself in a positive light. Parents who lack self-esteem will have difficulties bringing up a child with a high self-esteem. A good positive parent is a parent who knows that he/she is not perfect, but values him/herself while always trying to be so.